Once a Six Sigma project has been identified, the Black Belt becomes, in effect, the project manager with all the duties and responsibilities that entails. As a result Six Sigma Black Belts are the drivers of the Six Sigma process – making it a highly challenging and rewarding role.

As project leaders, Six Sigma Black Belts must be able to deliver a range of skills including leadership and problem solving, analytical skills and a keen understanding of the data and, of course, the ability to train others in the methods and tools of Six Sigma.

Leadership and Problem Solving
As with any leadership position, a Six Sigma Black Belt’s role begins the moment the project is identified and the team is put together. They must build confidence in the process and be able to motivate the team to deliver. As the project progresses the unavoidable hiccups and challenges must be addressed positively – keeping the team’s energies focused on delivery. In short, Six Sigma Black Belts must be strong leaders and demonstrate a mix of focused determination and excellent interpersonal skills.

Administrative, Analytical and Data Skills
Any Six Sigma project is predicated on delivering measurable improvements in business processes. A Six Sigma Black Belt must have a keen understanding of the data, an obsessive attention to detail, an ability to analyze that data and the skill to separate opinion from fact. Finding the problem areas within the business – they must then be able to exploit the six sigma toolset and implement improvement plans that can deliver measureable results

Ability to Train
For Six Sigma to become part of an organization’s culture, the values, skills and tools must also become part of that culture. The Black Belt’s skill set must therefore extend to training and coaching duties as well. Black Belts will typically mentor and train six sigma green belts.

Whereas the ultimate responsibility for the success of the Six Sigma process lies with the Executives, Champions and Master Black Belts who identify and instigate each project, the day-to-day success of failure of a project is largely determined by the Black Belts chosen to lead them. A Black Belt’s role is to execute and deliver tangible, measurable results that help the company achieve its business improvement objectives.

Starting with effective Six Sigma Training, becoming a black belt is often seen as a natural stepping-stone to advancement within the organization. As the use of improvement methodologies like Lean and Six Sigma become more prevalent, Six Sigma Blackbelts are becoming increasingly sought after as organizations look to capitalize on their skills and what they can offer to their organizations.

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